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Official Portraits Of Obamas To Begin 5-City U.S. Tour, Including Stop In Atlanta

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama stand on stage together as their official portraits are unveiled at a ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in 2018. The portraits are set to be on view in different cities, including Atlanta.
Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama stand on stage together as their official portraits are unveiled at a ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in 2018. The portraits are set to be on view in different cities, including Atlanta.
Credit Andrew Harnik / Associated Press
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The official portraits of former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama from the National Portrait Gallery will begin a five-city national tour in Chicago in June 2021. The tour will also include a stop in Atlanta.

The Art Institute of Chicago will host the portraits from June 18, 2021, to Aug. 15, 2021, the gallery announced Thursday.

The portraits will be on view at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, from Jan. 14, 2022, to March 13, 2022, according to the museum’s website.

Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama were unveiled in February 2018. Wiley and Sherald are the first African American artists chosen to paint the gallery’s official president and first lady portraits.

“Since the unveiling of these two portraits of the Obamas, the Portrait Gallery has experienced a record number of visitors, not only to view these works in person, but to be part of the communal experience of a particular moment in time,” Kim Sajet, director of the Washington gallery, said in a statement. “This tour is an opportunity for audiences in different parts of the country to witness how portraiture can engage people in the beauty of dialogue and shared experience.”

Barack Obama’s portrait includes green vines and bright flowers surrounding the 44th president. Chrysanthemums, which are the official flower of Chicago, dot the painting. The background also includes jasmine from Hawaii, where Obama was born, and African blue lilies, which represent the birthplace of Obama’s father: Kenya.

Besides Atlanta and Chicago, the portraits also will travel to the Brooklyn Museum in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

WABE contributed to this report